Common Names: Greater Horseshoe Bat
Scientific Name: Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
Species: R. ferrumequinum
Description: the greater horseshoe bat has the word greater because it is larger than the other of the two horseshoe bats found in Britain. The horseshoe part comes from their horseshoe-shaped nose, used as part as the bat's echolocation system. The ears have a sharply pointed tip and are leaf-shaped. The fur is thick, and colored ash-grey above, and buff underneath. Bats are not blind as was once popularly thought. They have good eyesight but rely on their echolocation to navigate and to detect their insect prey. They emit a succession of high-pitched squeaks and judge their position and the location of their prey from the reflected echoes. Body length: 5.6-7.5cm, Wingspan: 35-40cm, Weight: 17-34g and they may live for 30 years.
Habitat/Range: the greater horseshoe bat is found in northern India, south to northwestern Africa and throughout temperate Eurasia including Great Britain and Japan. The greater horseshoe bat usually prefers managed farmland, with grazing pasture and broad-leaved woodland. Greater horseshoe bats hibernate in caves, cellars or disused mines, from late September to mid-May. This bat is found in central and southern Europe but has declined significantly in northern Europe. In the United Kingdom, it is restricted to southern England and South Wales.
Size of population and conservation status: This endangered species is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans (UKBAPs), and has been included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. However, more people are realizing just how interesting bats are, and they receive (what the bats deserve) an elevated level of legal safety. The greater horseshoe bat has declined by over 90% in numbers during the last 100 years. This is due largely to habitat loss, caused by modern intensive farming methods. The main attempt in their conservation is to encourage landowners and farmers to manage their property in ways that benefit the bats; they are also being asked to limit the use of insecticides; the chemical in the insecticide also poisons the cattle's dung, and kills the larvae of dung beetles, one of the greater horseshoe bat's main foods. The Bat Conservation Trust carries out work on surveys and monitoring and employs many volunteers. Maintain all existing maternity roosts and associated hibernation sites. Increase current population by 25% by 2010; so there are 5,000 individuals.
Diet and feeding habits: This species is an insectivore and preys primarily on large beetles, such as cockchafers and dung beetles, large moths and caddis flies. In order to obtain their prey, hunting bats fly close to the ground surface. Greater horseshoe bat does not hunt in the winter unless the air temperature is warm enough for insect flight, and as a result, they hunt less during cold weather. Like other bat species, Greater horseshoe bat uses echolocation to locate their prey. This species emits a call consisting of short blasts at a low frequency. The call is released from the nose, not the mouth.
Predators: I couldn't find anything on it predators, so I think its predators are anything that can catch this quick bat. Interesting facts: the things that stood out as I read about my animal is their nose. The horseshoe part is true; the bottom part of its nose looks like a horseshoe, and the top part looks like a leaf. What I learned is how it finds its food; though echolocation.
Author: Hali C
Sources: http://www.arkive.org http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Rhinolophus_ferrumequinum.html Photo Credit: http://www.bogon-naturfoto.de/Fotogalerie/Fledermause_Spezial/Grosse_Hufeisennase/ Portr_t_Gr._Hufeisennase_2.jpg